If you read anything at all, just make sure it's the Time Magazine article down at the bottom. It's pretty shocking, even for me.
One of the worst mass murderers of the 20th century is described as "moderate" by the media simply because he followed orders:
The New York Times gushes:The Christian Science Monitor: Bringing Irian Jaya into 20th century
With the downfall in 1965 of then President Sukarno, many in the West were keen to cultivate Jakarta's new moderate leader, Suharto.
In the words of the C.I.A. study on the post-coup massacres in Indonesia:The New York Times: THE FALL OF SUHARTO: THE LEGACY; Suharto Fostered Rapid Economic Growth, and Staggering Graft
President Suharto was a reforming autocrat..While Mr. Suharto's recent record is mixed, his accomplishments were remarkable in the years after he took power after a failed coup attempt in 1965..He made the Indonesian economy one of the most open to foreign investment, the New York Times observes.
In terms of the numbers killed the anti-P.K.I. massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930's, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist blood bath of the early 1950's.
The U.S. embassy's attitude [towards these killings] was clearly expressed when, almost a month after the mass killings had begun, Francis Galbraith, the deputy chief of mission (later to succeed Marshall Green as ambassador), reporting to Washington on his conversation with a high-ranking Indonesian army officer, said that he had "made clear" to him that:
the embassy and the U.S.G[overnment] were generally sympathetic with and admiring of what the army is doing.
The White House also authorized the CIA station in Bangkok to provide small arms to General Sukendro in order to:
arm Muslim and nationalist youth in Central Java for use against the PKI.
For a rare investigative report on U.S. involvement in the Indonesia coup:
For the articles describing the "welcome developments" in Indonesia, see James Reston, "Washington: A Gleam of Light in Asia," New York Times, June 19, 1966, p. E12; Robert P. Martin, "Indonesia: Hope . . . Where Once There Was None," U.S. News and World Report, June 6, 1966, p. 70:The Washington Post: U.S. Officials' [Death] Lists Aided Indonesian Bloodbath in '60s
Former high-ranking U.S. diplomats and Central Intelligence Agency officials described in lengthy interviews how they aided Indonesian army leader Gen. Suharto-now president of Indonesia-in his attack on the PKI, which left hundreds of thousands of people dead.
Declassified embassy cables and State Department reports from early October 1965-before the names were turned over-show that U.S. officials knew Suharto had begun rounding up PKI cadres and that the embassy had unconfirmed reports that firing squads were being formed to kill PKI prisoners.
U.S. Embassy officials then were said to have carefully recorded the subsequent destruction of the PKI organization. Using Martens's lists as a guide, they checked off names of captured and assassinated PKI leaders, tracking the steady dismantling of the party apparatus, former U.S. officials said.
Similarly, in a cover story Time magazine celebrated "The West's best news for years in Asia":Indonesians these days can talk and argue freely, no longer fearful of being denounced and imprisoned.
Time Magazine: Indonesia: Vengeance with a Smile
Jul. 15, 1966
Amid a boiling bloodbath that almost unnoticed took 400,000 lives, Indonesia, the sprawling giant of Southeast Asia, has done a complete about-face. It changed not only its government but its political direction, fundamentally, radically and unexpectedly. President Sukarno, after 20 years of egotistical misrule, has been stripped of almost everything but his palaces and women. A new regime has risen, backed by the army but scrupulously constitutional and commanding vociferous popular support. "Indonesia is a state based on law not on mere power," says its new leader, a quietly determined Javanese general whose only name is Suharto.
During the eight months the terror lasted, to be a known Communist was usually to become a dead Communist. Many were decapitated, their heads impaled on poles outside their front doors for widows and children to see. So many bodies were thrown into the Brantas River that Kediri townsfolk are still afraid to eat fish -- and communities downstream had to take emergency measures to prevent an outbreak of the plague.
There was little remorse anywhere. "The Communists deserved the people's wrath," said Hadji Makrus AH, 57, the Kiai (Imam) of Kediri (pop. 250,000), a town that was about 60% Commu nist before the coup. To the Kiai, the slaughter was a "holy war," and he told his flocks that by killing Communists they were serving both the state and Islam.
Lieut. General Suharto, 48, is a stocky (5 ft. 6 in., 150 Ibs.) professional officer with wavy black hair, alert brown eyes, and an open, almost innocent face. He never had more than a high school education.